Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, M. U. M. Ali Sabry, in Colombo on Wednesday, where they chaired bilateral talks focusing on various critical areas, including economic development, education, health, fisheries, youth, sports, and skills development. Both Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to working closely together, emphasising the strong bond of trust and friendship between Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Following the official talks, Minister Zameer expressed gratitude to Sri Lanka for its contributions to the Maldives’ national development. He acknowledged the substantial contributions of the Sri Lankan expatriate community to the Maldivian economy and society. Minister Zameer also thanked Sri Lanka for reaffirming the terms of their bilateral agreement on short-term visit visas and providing concessional terms for resident student visas.

The Ministers discussed the need to promote trade and investment between the two countries, focusing on concluding agreements to facilitate trade and ease the burden and risks of doing business. “In this regard, we hope to conclude the agreements on the avoidance of double taxation and on the promotion and protection of investments between our two countries at the earliest. Both of these will facilitate trade, ease the burden and risks of doing business in both our countries,” said Minister Zameer.

They also emphasised the necessity of working together to combat Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported fishing in their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and beyond.

Additionally, both Ministers agreed to enhance training opportunities for officers of both countries in the security and defence sectors. They reiterated their commitment to work together for sustainable development, peace, security, and prosperity of the South Asia region through platforms such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Discussions were also held about Israel’s continued aggression against Palestine and its offensive in Gaza. “Minister Sabry and I also reaffirmed the position of our two countries on the situation in Gaza,” said Minister Zameer. “We hope there will be an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the people of Gaza will have access to the humanitarian aid that they so urgently need.”

Addressing climate change, the Ministers agreed on the critical need for mitigation and adaptation, recognising the disproportionate impact on small island nations despite minimal emissions. The Maldives has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, Minister Zameer said, emphasising the urgency of addressing climate change for sustainable development.

The talks concluded with a shared vision of strengthening the bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the Maldives, aiming to foster sustainable development and prosperity in the region.

During his visit to Colombo, Minister Zameer also made a courtesy call on Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Following the meeting, Minister Zameer expressed his appreciation for the continuous support and cooperation extended by Sri Lanka for the socio-economic development of Maldives. I reaffirmed our commitment to deepen our bilateral ties through mutually beneficial collaborations, he said about the meeting.